Angelika Lingnau: “From Kinematics to Meaning : The Neural basis of Action Understanding”
Being able to understand other people’s actions is fundamental for social interactions, and for the selection and preparation of our own actions. A network of regions, referred to as the ‘action observation network’ is recruited during the observation of actions. However, the precise division of labour between the different nodes of this network are debated. In this talk I will present a number of recent studies using multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) and representational similarity analysis (RSA) of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) data that addressed this question. Together, these results highlight the role of the lateral occipitotemporal cortex (LOTC), a region that is known to be recruited during a variety of different tasks, ranging from the perception of basic and biological motion to the perception of body parts, tools, and the processing of action-related knowledge. I will discuss these results in light of the ongoing debate on the neural basis of action recognition and point out possible future directions.